Mighty Blog

Ingesting disinfectants will not cure or prevent COVID-19

As reported by NBC News, the White House briefing on April 23 included the suggestion of “the possibility of an ‘injection’ of disinfectant into a person infected with the coronavirus as a deterrent to the virus.”

This has led to a lot of speculation from people across the United States – can ingesting disinfectants actually cure or prevent COVID-19?

The answer is simple: No. Dr. Gigi Chawla, chief of general pediatrics at Children’s Minnesota, cautions that ingesting or injecting disinfectants is dangerous, toxic and potentially life-threatening.

Call center calls are up

The Children’s Minnesota call center has received inquiries about patients and families disinfecting themselves. This has been an extreme worry for us and for hospitals nationwide.

People are asking if they can mix different chemicals in order to try and clear their lungs—for example, via nebulizations. Because some chemicals may be effective surface-cleaners, some people are also thinking it may be helpful internally, too.

While we understand there is a grave worry for everyone surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic and they want to practice the best hygiene they can, we want to make sure of two things: You stay safe and you stay healthy.

U.S. poison center calls increase

According to CNBC, “The fear of getting the coronavirus appears to have helped drive a 20% increase in U.S. poison center calls over the last three months as more Americans suffered from potentially toxic exposure to chemicals in cleaning and disinfectant products,” the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said.

The CDC also revealed that during January-March 2020, poison centers received 45,550 exposure calls related to cleaners and disinfectants. This represents an overall increase of more than 20 percent in poisonings from cleaners and a more than 16 percent increase from disinfectants from 2019.

Aerosolized or ingested disinfectants are unsafe

Children’s Minnesota warns against aerosolizing or ingesting disinfectants. It would be dangerous, toxic and potentially life-threatening.

Please call poison control if you have ingested any disinfectants – you can reach them at 1-800-222-1222.

How do I prevent COVID-19?

Effective ways you can help prevent yourself and your family from getting COVID-19 include: Washing your hands, avoid touching your face, clean the high-touch surfaces in your home and social distancing. Read more: Important COVID-19 information for our patient families.

Tips for preventing poisonings in your home

Making your home safe is critical to avoiding poisoning because more than 90 percent of poisonings occur in the home. Read more: How can you prevent poisonings in your home.

If you believe that your child swallowed or came in contact with something harmful, you can contact the poison control center for free and confidential help. You can get help online or by calling the 24/7 hotline at 1-800-222-1222.

In case of an emergency, always call 9-1-1 or bring your child to an emergency room.